Wrestling in the USSR
Freestyle wrestling began to develop in our country much later than classical. It gained distribution, first of all, in Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, since the national types of wrestling cultivated there are very similar to freestyle wrestling according to international rules.
In 1945, the All-Union Committee on Physical Culture and Sports held a special training meeting for trainers, where new wrestling equipment was studied. It is known that the development of free-style wrestling in the country was personally monitored by I.V. Stalin.
The first USSR championship took place in the same 1945. A lot of classic wrestlers turned into a new type of martial arts for Soviet athletes, since competition was incredibly high in some weight categories of classical wrestling.
Despite the lack of experience in international performances, our freestyle wrestlers very soon became one of the strongest. The performance of the USSR national team at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki was preceded by a single international meeting – with the hosts of the future Olympics, which our wrestlers won with a score of 8: 0. At the Games, they excelled in the team standings, having won two gold medals. Heavyweight Arsen Mekokishvili, who defeated Bertil Antonsson in the finals of the titled Swedish wrestler, created one of the biggest sensations of the Olympics. Another victory was celebrated by middleweight David Tsimakuridze.
The most fruitful for the Olympic “gold” were for our “freestyle” Games in Moscow: 7 awards of the highest standard. At the Olympics 1972 and 1976, they won 5 gold medals. And all in all, Soviet freestyle wrestlers rose 30 times to the highest step of the Olympic podium.
In 1954, the Soviet freestyle wrestling team first performed at the World Championships (in Tokyo), where they won three gold medals and in the team event, only one point lost to Turkish athletes. And in 1966, finally, the “European debut” of the USSR national freestyle wrestling team took place. Six Soviet athletes became champions.
Among them was our most titled freestyle wrestler Alexander Medved, the first three-time Olympic champion in the history of freestyle wrestling (Swede Karl Westergren won the Olympic gold in Greco-Roman wrestling – in 1920, 1924 and 1932, and his compatriot Ivar Johansson in 1932 he excelled in two types of wrestling, and in 1936 in Greco-Roman.) In the piggy bank of the famous Soviet wrestler there are also seven gold medals received at world championships, moreover in three weight categories: three European titles and eight countries.
Sergey Beloglazov and Arsen Fadzaev are two-time Olympic champions and six-time world champions. Among the Soviet freestyle wrestlers there were several more twice Olympic champions. Ivan Yarygin, who later switched to coaching and, as senior coach of the USSR national team, repeatedly led her to victories in international competitions. Levan Tediashvili, in the 70s. more than once having won the “gold” of the world championships, Europe and the USSR in freestyle wrestling, he also has in his collection the gold medal of the world champion in sambo wrestling. Soslan Andiev added five world titles to two Olympic titles. And in the collection of Maharbek Khadartsev, in addition to two gold ones, there is also a silver Olympic medal.